Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Mental Hygiene versus Personal Hygiene

Is Mental Hygiene something you have control over?   Maybe.

We were talking about people today, and how it seems that everyone is going a little crazy these days.   When you are a kid, you look up to adults as being rational, serious beings.   After all, they are always so grumpy and no fun, right?  They must be sane.

But then you grow up and realize that most people have a very tenuous grip on reality.  Very... tenuous.

And by this, I don't mean hard-core mental illness - some guy screaming at people on the street or whatever.   But regular folks who, for one reason or another just don't seem to be able to get their shit together.

We all labor under a number of delusions these days.   And it seems that people are getting more delusional that ever.   Many folks - even so-called "smart" people - believe it the oddest things.  End-times theology, 9/11 "truthers", Tax denial schemes, Obama Birthers, and so forth.   What differentiates these beliefs from ordinary political belief is the utter disregard for basic truth or analysis.  To many people, the fact that such conspiracy theories are not mentioned in the "mainstream media" is merely more proof the conspiracy is real.   You can't answer nonsensical arguments like that - arguments that bootstrap themselves.


Mental Hygiene is like Personal Hygiene.
You have to work at it.

Still others believe utter nonsense in their financial lives.   Many think spending $100,000 on a Liberal-Arts degree from a party college is a sound financial "investment" and the crushing student loans are the fault of "Wall Street."   Still others think nothing of refinancing their homes, again and again, to take out cash to pay off credit card debt incurred by restaurant meals.   We are not talking about poor people, but six-figure-salary doctors and lawyers - people who should know better.

And the list goes on and on.   It seems lately the whole world is going a little crazy.

So what can be done about it?

Well, we can't fix other people.   That's just not possible.   You can quietly and calmly try to show them the way to righteousness, but don't be surprised when they tell you that you are full of hooey.  People are that way.  They have to discover things for themselves.

What we can do is keep our own house in order.   And this includes maintaining our own mental hygiene.  Mental Hygiene is like Personal Hygiene.   You have to work at it.

And by this, I mean just sitting down and thinking about things - far from the noise and distraction of the television (the depression box) and the smart phone (the insanity machine).   These distractors prevent you from thinking rationally.  If you let them dominate your life, you may end up thinking a lot of very strange and irrational things - much to your own detriment.

Granted, you can't self-cure yourself of full-blown Schizophrenia.  And serious depression is something to see a Doctor about.

But I think the more mild insanity that we are seeing now in our daily lives, is something that we can work at.   Act rationally in an irrational world.

It's worth a try, anyway.